Primary years - Explore the effects of pollution across Australia and the ways to reduce them - Upper Primary 4 - 7 SOSE and Science
This unit introduces students to the issue of pollution and toxic substances emitted to air, land and water in the environment. Students will explore the different types of emission sources, such as industry sources, diffuse sources, natural sources, transport sources and consumer sources that might contain toxic substances. Further to this they will explore and obtain a strong understanding of where school and home emissions come from, and what impacts they can have on human health and on the environment. In examining emissions and how to live more sustainably, students can also be given a preliminary introduction to sustainable living, including how industry, consumers, schools and communities can reduce emissions and environmental impacts.
They will also learn about the groups of schools involved in the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI), that are making a whole-of-school commitment to become more sustainable; auditing and collecting baseline data on the use of its resources, the management of its facilities and grounds and assessing approaches to teaching and learning, and developing a plan of action to address local sustainability issues.
Many types of activity undertaken by people in their daily lives at work, home, school and play can adversely affect the environment and may be sources of emissions to air, land and water. One of the ways that industry can affect the environment is through the emission of a toxic substance - whether in pure form or contained in other matter and/or in solid, liquid or gaseous form. Emissions can be separated into emissions to air, land and water. An example of how emissions to water can have environmental effects is when elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus enter the waterways causing enhanced algal growth. This may eventually become blue-green algal blooms which can affect humans through contact or consumption.
Why are Australian industries trying to measure, monitor and manage emissions to air, land and water?
Historically there has been increasing community demand to know about emissions of toxic substances to the environment. Australian, state and territory governments have agreed to legislation called National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs) which help protect or manage particular aspects of the environment. Australian industries are required to measure and monitor their emissions under this legislation.
The management of substances is necessary for several reasons:
- to maintain and improve air and water quality;
- to minimise environmental impacts associated with hazardous wastes; and
- to improve the sustainable use of resources.
Australian industries, homes, schools and communities are trying to reduce emissions to reduce waste and keep environmental resources healthy. By working together, industries, researchers, conservationists and the government have introduced technologies and innovations, including changes to practices, which have reduced emissions of toxic substances to air, land and water.
Approaches to reducing emissions of toxic substances can involve:
- keeping track of emissions of toxic substances over time, from a range of different sources and on a geographical basis;
- using the emissions information to inform government decision making about environmental planning and management, and to reduce emissions; and
- making the emissions information available to all sectors of the community so that everyone can help to reduce pollution.
There is not a 'one size fits all' solution.
It is important to keep looking for new and better ways of reducing emissions of toxic substances to air, land and water, to benefit people and the environment. Sharing information on solutions is an important step toward reducing toxic substances to air, land and water on a global scale.
Governments can use emissions information to support initiatives which help protect the environment. Some of these initiatives include:
- measuring and monitoring pollution
- setting national fuel quality standards
- encouraging transport options that reduce pollution
- management of wood heater emissions
- the monitoring and management of air pollutants.
Industry can use cleaner production techniques and install pollution control devices to reduce their emissions. These could include:
- using cleaner raw materials and chemicals;
- installing vapour or product recovery systems;
- improving internal processes such as maintenance scheduling and inspection programs for potential leaks or spills;
- modifying and improving processes and equipment such as installing overflow alarms and increasing dust suppression; and
- installing end of pipe reduction devices such as fabric filters and scrubbers.
One example of industry reducing emissions is the Carter Holt Harvey particle board mill in Tumut, New South Wales which has implemented several emission reduction activities resulting in decreased emissions and better management of waste. See Carter Holt Harvey particle board mill on the NPI website.
- Every type of production activity has an impact on the environment.
- Air, land and water pollution is a local, national and global issue.
- Australian industries, homes, schools and communities are trying to reduce emissions of toxic substances to air, land and water, to reduce waste and keep environmental resources healthy.
- Everyday actions can help reduce toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water.
- Emission reduction devices and technologies differ across industry.
- Different production, transport and manufacturing techniques have different types of emissions.
- Emission reduction methods/technologies are part of the sustainable management of Australia's environment.
- People, plants and animals co-exist on the planet.
- Management of toxic substances emitted to air, land and water is important to all involved in industry, government, the protection and conservation of the environment, people and animal's health and the consumers of products.
- It's important to keep improving and developing strategies to reduce toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water, to benefit industry, society and the environment.
- What sort of toxic substances are being emitted to air, land and water?
- What impacts do toxic substances have on people and the environment?
- What do we mean by toxic substances emitted to air, land and water?
- What is the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI)?
- How can education and sustainable practices help improve the environment?
- How can current ways of living be improved?
- How can people become involved in improving Australia's environment?
- What can we do and why is it important to get involved?
- Why is it important to keep looking for new and better ways of reducing emission of toxic substances to air, land and water?
- What can we do when we are with friends and families and at school to reduce emission of toxic substances to air, land and water?
- What can local leaders (local council or businesses) do to reduce toxic substances emitted to air, land and water?
- What can national and global leaders do to change the way toxic substances are emitted to air, land or water or how might they influence others in a national or global sense to do so?
Air, alternatives, behaviour, Best Environmental Practices (BEP's), biodiversity, care, compost, conflict issue, conflict resolution, conserve, conservation, cultural values, ecosystem, endangered, emissions, enforcement, environment, environmental values, equipment, ethics, evaluation criteria, facilities, features, global, government, health, human-made, impacts, implementation, Indigenous peoples, interest group, leaders, legislation, leisure, local, look after, maintenance, management plans, national, nature, permits, political values, pollution, protect, rare, recycle, regulation, resource, restrictions, reuse, safety, signs, soil, stakeholder/user group, sustainable, technology, threatened, toxic substances water, work.
- Studies of Society and Environment;
- Literacy; and
The unit focuses on core learning outcomes from the Years 4-7 SOSE, Literacy, ICT and Science Syllabuses/ Curriculum Frameworks.
- Collecting, analysing and organising information;
- Communicating ideas and information;
- Planning and organising activities;
- Working with others in teams;
- Using mathematical ideas and techniques;
- Solving problems; and
- Using technology.
Read books and surf websites about the toxic substances that are emitted to air, land and water.
For example: the ballad 'Spike - pollution tracker ballad' See Resource 1
Houghton, C. & J. Water, soil and air, Macmillan Australia, 1990
MacRae-Campbell, L. Our troubled skies, Cheltenham, Victoria: Hawker Brownlow Education, 1992
McRae, R. Cry me a river, Angus & Robertson, Australia, 1991
Stille, D. Air pollution, Chicago: Children's Press, 1990. or
Trafford, C. Weather or not.: it's a climate for change, Etram Pty Ltd, 2007.
See References for additional titles.
- What do we mean by toxic substances that are emitted?
- How many different types of toxic substances that are emitted to air, land and water can you think of? (industry sources, point and diffuse sources, natural sources, transport sources, consumer products that might contain toxic substances etc)
- What sort of impacts do these toxic substances have on human health and the environment?
List students' answers.
On paper strips, students record facts, feelings and opinions about toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water.
Place five hoops in a circle on the floor, each one with the following statements written on a card:
- things we know about toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water in Australia;
- things we like about Australia's air, land and water;
- things that concern us about toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water;
- things about Australia's air, land and water which are interesting and intriguing; and
- things we would like to know about reducing toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water.
Students sort their responses into the categories, and discuss the results. Bundle the responses and paste them onto a class chart.
Introducing the importance of improving actions at home, school and in the community to reduce toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water
Discuss and identify toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water that are commonly emitted from home, school and sources in the local area.
Talk about what impacts they have on human health and the environment.
Talk about what actions might help to prevent toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water in the future.
Share lists and make a collective one. Consider whether the list can be classified in any way.
In groups, use reference material to clarify and modify lists, and report to the class group.
With the class prepare a class chart of what students know about technologies/devices and actions to help prevent toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water. Include a list of questions students want to investigate. Ask students to offer possible answers to these.
Encourage students to design their own technology or list actions that might help to prevent toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water.
Explain to the class that in pairs or groups their task is to prepare either a play, multi-media presentation, a report or a brochure which conveys detailed information about the:
- importance of Australia's environment;
- why it is important to keep looking for new and better ways of reducing toxic substances emitted to air, land and water in their local environment;
- common toxic substances emitted to air, land and water in their local environment;
- the impact and effect of toxic substances on air and water quality, and on human health and the environment (animals and plants);
- how actions at school, home and in the community can help improve Australia's environment;
- what schools involved in the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) are doing to reduce toxic substances emitted to air, land and water at their school and in their community;
- what local leaders (local council or businesses) are doing to reduce toxic substances emitted to air, land and water; and
- what national and global leaders are doing to change the way toxic substances are emitted to air, land or water or have influenced others in a national or global sense.
Display these details as an ongoing reference for students to use. Use brainstorming to guide the investigation and suggestions as to where relevant information might be found. Students work in groups to prepare for their investigation.
Students browse websites about different types of toxic substances that are emitted to air, land and water and the effects they have on these places.
Use the 'Tracking pollution across Australia' website and ask students to explore and identify the types of substances being emitted to air, land and water that can come from some industrial and non-industrial sources in their local area - by entering their local postcode into the database available on the site - and then reading fact sheets about certain toxic substances that are emitted. Investigate their impacts and effects, including any harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Encourage younger students to follow Spike the lizard character around Australia and identify the activities taking place, and the toxic substances being emitted. Using the students' knowledge and some detective work, trace the toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water sources. Identify these.
Identify similarities and differences between the toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water sources on the web page and then discuss these in the context of the students' local area and the types of toxic substances that may be found to be emitted there.
Talk about whether there is evidence of any toxic substances being emitted to air, land or water inside the school building and from the school grounds.
Consider the street the school is located in. Look for evidence of any toxic substances being emitted to air, land or water from driveways, chimneys, vehicles, lawnmowers, shops and service stations or machinery that is being used. Discuss and chart these and describe their effects on places and people.
Focus on the local area that the students live in. Brainstorm lists of toxic substances that students recall being emitted to air, land or water in the area. Discuss and chart these and describe their effects on places and people.
Complete summaries of class suggestions.
Use the 'Tracking pollution across Australia' website to find out more about the localities emitting toxic substances to air, land and water sources. In particular, read the associated fact sheets about the most common toxic substances that are emitted from a variety of sources. Talk with the students about these examples, introducing new vocabulary as needed. Ask students to decide what the purpose of each locality identified on the map is and what it could be emitting at any one time and describe the effects on places and people.
Look for clues and ask questions. For example:
- What is this place like?
- What catches the eye?
- What can you see in the background?
- What do people do here?
- What is happening in this place?
- What is made, produced or manufactured here?
- How are people travelling in this place?
- Could this place be anywhere else?
- Why is this place here?
- How/ why/ by whom were decisions made to develop this place?
- What grows here?
- What animals live here?
- What is being emitted here these and what are the effects on places and people?
- What might the consequences of these emissions and effects be?
Encourage younger students to focus on Spike the lizard character and activities that emit toxic substances from a home or community source. Ask students to brainstorm a list of toxic substances that are emitted to air, land and water which can be produced at home and describe their effects on places and people.
Compile these onto a large class list and classify.
Students work in groups. Each group is to locate relevant information on what schools are doing within the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI) to reduce toxic substances emitted to air, land and water at school and in the community and compile a pros and cons list for using similar actions from the students' point of view.
Explain to the students that they will be visiting a local school actively involved in AuSSI or reading case studies about AuSSI schools, to help undertake research so that they can reflect on some of the actions schools are typically involved in when working towards resource management and sustainable living.
While visiting, observe some of the projects and initiatives undertaken at the school. Make a close study of ways schools are reducing toxic substances emitted to the air, water and land these and the effects of these projects and initiatives on the schools and its community.
Prepare a list of questions to investigate.
During the investigation at a school students could also collect evidence of activities and projects that could be undertaken at their school.
More information on Case studies
Encourage students to research and describe the various projects and initiatives in use within AuSSI schools that reduce toxic substances emitted to air, water and land and their effects on the school and its community.
Encourage students to report on how the projects and initiatives work, the toxic substances they exclude or reduce from effecting air, land and water, and their impact or effect on the school and its community.
Find out about your schools' approach to AuSSI and its whole-of-school commitment to become more sustainable; auditing and collecting baseline data on the use of its resources, the management of its facilities and grounds and how it is assessing approaches to teaching and learning, and developing a plan of action or SEMP to address local sustainability issues.
Map this out on a large chart. Who is responsible for what? What happens in all the classes? What happens in the school canteen, school grounds, school hall and office areas? Have audits been undertaken to look at what toxic substances are emitted to air, water and land from these areas? Look at the schools' School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP). See examples at Resources to support the implementation of AuSSI in your school . Find out whether the school has undertaken a waste audit. Ascertain the quantity of waste that is generated at the school; how it is disposed of and recycled, or reused.
Investigate the 'actions' within the SEMP. Find out whether the school has implemented a colored bin system so that waste can be sorted, recycled and reused. Are these distributed across the whole school so that everyone has access to them? Are they collected regularly? Does the school collect, reuse and recycle green and organic waste? Does it have a compost bin or area? Are food scraps collected and composted from classrooms, the staffroom and school grounds? Does the school have a worm farm? Is it maintained? How is the worm casting and liquid reused? Does the school have a policy to buy recycled paper? Does it buy products that generate minimal waste? Does the school have a double-sided paper policy? Does it collect paper from the community that has only been used on one side? Is it reused as spare paper in classrooms? Are special events at the school committed to waste management? Are sustainable waste practices implemented at special events at the school?
Consider water at the school and water that leaves the school grounds.
Investigate whether the school:
- Collects and uses rainwater at the school? Describe what it is being used for.
- Safely reuses water at the school? Describe what it is being used for.
- Reflects on and can identify what factors may have influenced their results. (e.g. drought, broken pipes, water restrictions, water timers, installation of 3-5A star rated appliances, non water based approaches to cleaning, irrigation regimes in place, collection of stormwater for gardens, planting of appropriate tolerant plants to suit local conditions, reduction strategies, mulching of school gardens, water conservation campaign, dual flush cisterns installed, waterless/composting toilets installed, aqua clics installed, water efficient shower-heads installed).
- Takes action in response to the school's water audit and SEMP? See Resources to support the implementation of AuSSI in your school
- Has applied for a Community Water Grant?
- Can identify and quantify rainfall inputs to the school?
- Can identify and quantify identifiable outputs from the school?
- Can identify and quantify collectable surfaces? e.g. roofs
- Can identify and quantify water retention areas?
- Can identify water re-use options? Can develop an action plan against individual water quality issues? e.g. Erosion on the oval contributes sediments to the stream and managing the erosion will improve the health of the stream.
- Is actively involved in conserving water and improving its quality?
Consider the use of electricity at the school. Investigate whether the school:
- can replace or supplement the school's energy supply with renewable energy sources (such as GreenPower, solar hot water, photovoltaics, ground source heat pump);
- has an air conditioning & heating policy;
- uses occupancy detectors or clockwork time delays;
- uses natural lighting;
- has reduction strategies in place, for example, are appliances turned off overnight, weekends and holidays, have skylights been installed, have energy efficient globes been installed, have 4-5A star rated appliances been installed;
- undertakes any innovative actions to reduce school greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption or supporting renewable energy.
Consider the reduction of emissions from traffic at the school. Investigate whether the school:
- has undertaken an audit of how students and staff travel to the school;
- engages in Walking School Bus or TravelSmart programs;
- encourages staff and students to regularly walk or cycle to school if they live close enough;
- ensures that school buses or other public transport services provide access to the school;
- encourages staff and students to regularly share lifts if they have to use a car to get to school;
- has a secure and dry place for bike storage;
- provides students with cycling skills training;
- has developed a network of safe routes to school and approached the local government about improving unsafe road crossings near the school; and
- works with local or regional partners in their sustainable transport activities.
Interview a cross section of the school to find out more about how AuSSI and your school's SEMP is implemented and monitored at the school. Keep a record of the interviews.
Find out about what the leaders (local councils) and leading businesses are doing in regard to their management of toxic substances that are emitted to and effect air, land and water. Contact the local council and businesses to seek this information.
Ask small groups of students to select a 'national' or 'world' leader to prepare a profile about. In selecting the leaders, consider those who have deliberately set out to change the way toxic substances are emitted to air, land or water or have influenced others in a national or global sense.
Re-state the purposes of the investigation, and ask students to consider how they are going to bring their information together and present it so that the main points come across clearly.
As a class, list the main issues affecting local environments. Decide on ways to present this information.
Students draw two different flow charts or posters. The first explains how toxic substances from a source (school, home, community, facility) make their way to the air, land and water. A second flow chart or poster could show the impacts of common toxic substances emitted from these places and what effects occur in our environment if actions and activities are not undertaken to reduce toxic substances being emitted.
Model the construction of the genres above. Students now use the information they have gathered to construct a piece of work of their choice.
If they have been working in pairs, encourage students to conference each other.
If they are working individually, they can be encouraged to team up with others and to talk about their plans.
When plays, presentations, reports and brochures are finalised, a class retrieval chart could be developed on which to show collected data. This is important as students will begin to see patterns emerging.
Sitting in a circle, ask students to imagine they have become a part of the environment that sometimes gets toxic substances emitted to it. They should think about why they are an important part of the ecosystem and what makes them special.
Ask someone to speak for that part of the ecosystem as it cannot speak for itself, and to sit inside the middle of the circle, e.g. 'I speak for the Air'. The other students represent humankind.
Students on the outer circle ask questions of the air, e.g. 'Tell us about yourself Air. Why are you special?' The student in the middle talks about the environmental element it represents.
Ask additional questions, e.g. 'What troubles you Air?' The air tells the humans of its plight and may ask questions. The humans listen and respond if they wish.
Another student then enters the circle to speak on behalf of either land or water and the process continues.
Afterwards, debrief by talking about the way the students felt as an element of the ecosystem affected by toxic substances that can be emitted.
Students design signage or information sheets about ways they can reduce toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water from school, home or the community or by using sustainable practices.
Students draw posters which show how different people are concerned about, affected by or involved with the reduction of toxic substances being emitted to air, land and water.
In this activity students begin to understand that reducing toxic substances being emitted and caring for Australia's environment is a joint responsibility.
Draw conclusions about what has been learned. Develop concept maps using key words.
Students draw connecting lines between words and indicate how they believe their words relate to each other. From the concept maps, students come up with one statement about toxic substances being emitted. Share and prioritise statements.
As a class, consider the consequences of not increasing involvement in, and appreciation of, reducing toxic substances that can be emitted from school and home. Use a consequence wheel to examine first, second and third order consequences. See Resource 2.
Examine the ways in which a particular aspect of popular culture (e.g. television program, movie, gadget or fashion item) has been marketed by advertising companies.
- What is the marketing attempting to do?
- What is the role of advertising in this process?
- Who or what benefits from this marketing?
As a class, decide on how best to market AuSSI or sustainable living. The marketing campaign should heighten community awareness and appreciation of the importance of AuSSI or living sustainably and explain what this is.
Decide on how the class could introduce the idea that there are many and varied ways schools and communities can become involved in living sustainably or in raising school and community appreciation for the importance of sustainable living practices.
Encourage students to choose one local issue associated with living more sustainably or reducing toxic substances that are emitted to air, land and water. Read the background information, utilise the fact sheets available at www.npi.gov.au and research the internet for additional ideas. As a class, brainstorm possible solutions and talk about why something should be done about each of these issues. Discuss what the class can do.
Suggestions might include:
- Raising public awareness by speaking at school assembly, writing an article for the school newsletter, or writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper.
- Becoming an AuSSI school.
- Developing stickers, pamphlets or an action-chart showing how students and their families can contribute.
- Writing to Members of Parliament, government departments and environmental agencies about issues that concern them.
- Develop a sustainable living guide for your local area.
- Take action in their own homes and daily lives to reduce emission of toxic substances.
Tackle a specific substance emission to air, land and water that has been found to be of interest in your local area or state/territory. Record responses to the following questions:
- Are you particularly concerned about a specific issue and want to take action?
- Is something happening in the local area or state/territory that you would like to change?
- Are there any groups that are already working on the issue?
- Is there a particular aspect of the issue that you think would be appropriate for a group to work on?
- What can be found out about the issue?
Gather and record important information about the issue. Find out about others in the school, families or organisations in your local area or state/territory that are working on or participate in similar issues to yours.
Identify the problems, identify the causes of the issue, and start to address the causes of the problem. For example, if it is a real problem, consider the reasons for the litter existing in the first place and monitor where the litter is coming from. Is it from school students or does litter blow in from a neighbouring area? Are passing cars the source of the litter?
Get involved to actively change things at school, at home or in the community. Consider the following activities to improve water quality:
- Maintaining stormwater drains. Keeping them free of litter, leaves and dirt.
- Covering and storing rubbish in areas where it cannot contaminate or pollute stormwater drains during rain.
- Collecting fallen leaves and composting them in mulch gardens.
- Cleaning all outdoor surfaces using a broom, vacuum or shovel (do not hose or blow them).
- Handling all materials carefully to prevent spills.
- Keeping storage containers well away from stormwater drains and in properly covered and bundled areas.
- Marking school and nearby stormwater drains with a suitable signs such as 'This drain leads to the Sea'.
- Creating and placing signs around the school and surrounding areas to remind others of ways to avoid pollution in the school and local area.
- Participating in local Waterwatch programs to help monitor the water quality in your local waterway.
- Visiting local waterways and testing the water quality.
- Checking the edge vegetation of local waterways for pollution. Cleaning up areas regularly. Looking for weeds and eradicating them.
- Conducting a water quality awareness program within the school community.
- Placing articles about water quality in the school newsletter and sharing ideas to reduce pollution in local waterways and the ocean.
- Organising a display about the school's water quality program in the local shopping centre.
- Developing an education program about water quality that will be useful in your school community.
Consider the following activities to reduce litter, reduce waste and recycle:
- Identifying 'hot spots' where litter is most likely to cause environmental impacts. Considering quantities of litter and the effects of different types of litter (e.g. plastics, food wastes or glass) on the local environment and the animals and people who live there. Identifying those who use the 'hot spots'. Working with the school community, especially those who use the 'hot spots', to develop ways to reduce litter.
- Identifying the types of waste that are evident in the waste stream. Ensuring enough litterbins are placed around the school.
- Making presentations at school assembly on why litter is a problem for the local area.
- Painting bins in attractive colours with designs to encourage students to put litter in them.
- Setting up separate recycling bins for cans, glass, plastics and paper (check to see what can be recycled in your area).
- Collecting food scraps and setting up a worm farm for recycling organic waste. Using the resulting compost and worm castings in the school gardens.
- Collecting useful items to reuse in art, craft and technology, e.g. paper, card, material cut-offs, wool, and ice cream containers.
- Developing school policies about double-sided photocopying, paper use and reuse re-inking cartridges and composting/worm farming of organic waste.
- Developing an education program about litter and waste reduction and recycling for use in your school community.
Consider the following activities to reduce emissions from traffic:
- Conducting an audit of how students and staff travel to the school.
- Engaging in Walking School Bus or Travel Smart programs for schools.
- Walking or cycling to school regularly if you live close enough.
- Catch school buses or other public transport to school.
- Encouraging staff and students to regularly share lifts if they have to use a car to get to school.
Consider the following activities to conserve water:
- Conducting a water audit of the school.
- Monitoring water usage in the school.
- If any taps, drinking fountains, fire hydrants or sprinkler systems are leaking, inform the school administration team.
- Mulching gardens to reduce water loss to evaporation.
- Installing flow control devices to reduce the amount of water flowing from the tap.
- Using a landscape design to reduce the consumption of resources e.g. planting shade trees near buildings, adding mulch to garden beds, or installing drip irrigation.
- Working with the local school community and relevant outside organisations to develop ideas for saving water in the school.
- Putting water conservation signs in the toilets, urinals, hand basins, sinks, showers and any other water outlets in and around school buildings.
- Developing an education program that will be useful in your school community to reduce water use.
Consider the following activities to conserve energy:
- Conducting an energy audit at the school.
- Reducing energy by becoming more aware of where energy is used and taking steps to ensure that fans, lights and electrical appliances are turned off when not in use.
- Identifying areas of energy savings at the school.
- Replacing or supplementing the school's energy supply with renewable energy sources such as GreenPower, solar hot water, photovoltaics, ground source heat pumps etc.
- Developing school policies about air conditioning & heating, use of occupancy detectors or clockwork time delays, use of natural lighting, use of reduction strategies, such as turning appliances off overnight, weekends and holidays, installation of skylights, installation of energy efficient globes, installation of 4-5A star rated appliances etc.
- Using natural lighting whenever and wherever possible.
- Developing ways to reduce electricity used in the school and encourage people to contribute ideas on energy conservation.
- Searching out information and resources that will be useful in your school community to save energy.
- Developing an education program that will be useful in your school community to reduce energy.
Consider the following activities to ensure appropriate chemical disposal:
- When using chemicals it is imperative that none are washed into grassed or soil areas, gardens, storm water drains or gullies that connect to waterways or beaches.
- Disposing of all chemicals and containers in accordance with the instructions on the container or contact your local council's waste disposal section.
- Locating, identifying and listing all chemicals used in the school. Assessing each for its contribution to the environment and health of the waterways or the ocean.
- Not disposing chemicals down the drain.
- Taking care not to spill fuel when filling vehicles or changing oil.
- Using biodegradable chlorine-free toilet paper and phosphate-free cleaning products.
Consider the following action projects to minimise plastic bags:
- Saying NO to plastic bags when you go shopping.
- Taking reusable bags and use them at every shop, not just at the supermarket.
- Encouraging the community to switch to an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic.
- Designing interactive displays, promotional give-aways and a bag swap.
- Becoming an entirely plastic bag free school.
- Undertaking beach clean ups and recycling all plastic appropriately.
- Being responsible with plastic litter disposal.
- Never throwing plastic into the ocean, rivers or waterways where it can harm marine life.
- Using biodegradable fishing equipment and bait bags.
- Taking your waste items home from outings with you.
- Working with others in your community to educate the community on marine debris and how they can help avoid it.
Set the goals for a project and develop an action plan. Some of the things needed might include:
- forming a management team to undertake activities;
- defining roles and responsibilities;
- designing and establishing a feedback loop for project progress and effectiveness of the team;
- designing the project budget;
- designing the project timeline;
- setting up a project diary, planning for celebrations at each milestone, taking into account factors likely to affect progress, allocating time for regular reviews of progress;
- promoting the project and consulting widely;
- establishing sources of support and a support network;
- setting up photo points for monitoring - by taking a photo at the same point each time, you can see the changes over time; and
- monitoring and evaluating the action plan over time.
Ask students to complete a self-assessment and reflection activity using the following questions:
- What is the most important thing I have learned about toxic substances that are emitted to air, land and water and actions that can reduce impacts on the environment?
- What is one thing I have learned about myself, and how I might help to improve the way I can reduce my impact on the environment?
- What have I learnt about how to avoid adding to the emission of toxic substances that can affect air, land and water when I go out with my family and friends?
- What would I still like to find out about living more sustainably or AuSSI schools?
- What piece of work am I most satisfied with?
Agnew, A. The Best Eco Book Ever, Monkeyshed Books, 2006.
Baines, JD, Keeping the Air Clean, Raintree, 1998.
Biley, C. Pollution: Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints, Thomson Gale, 2006.
Donald, RL, Air Pollution, Children's Press, 2002.
Ha, T. Greeniology: how to live well, be green and make a difference, Allen & Unwin, 2003.
Houghton, C. & J. Water, soil and air, Macmillan Australia, 1990.
MacRae-Campbell, L. Our troubled skies, Hawker Brownlow Education, 1992.
McRae, R. Cry me a river, Angus & Robertson, 1991.
Meagler, D. Macmillan Dictionary of the Australian Environment, Macmillan Australia, 1991.
Nicholson, J. The state of the planet, Allen & Unwin, 2000.
Seuss, Dr. The Lorax, Random House, 1971.
Spillsbury, L. Environmental Risk: The Effects of Pollution, Raintree Publishers, 2007.
Stille, D. Air pollution, Children's Press, 1990. or
Trafford, C. Weather or not.: it's a climate for change, Etram Pty Ltd, 2007.
Yarrow, J. 1001 Ways to Save the Earth, Chronicle Books, 2007.
About NPI substances
- Substance fact sheets
- Latest NPI reports and maps
- NPI video: Introduction to the NPI
- NPI video: Overview and reporting changes to the NPI
Before you download
Most publications are downloadable as PDF files. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF files.
If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.
Links to an another web site
Opens a pop-up window